A Band Called Death screened twice at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival in the 24 Beats per Second category. The documentary feature, directed by Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett, is about the band, Death, that is now widely acknowledged as being one of the first punk bands formed in 1971 by three African-American brothers in Detroit, Michigan.
The film is available online and On Demand, but it is scheduled to have a theatrical release by Drafthouse Films on June 28th-30th at the Alamo Drafthouse Westlakes in San Antonio, with tickets available soon.
Before Bad Brains, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones, there was a band called Death. Punk before punk existed, three teenage brothers in the early ’70s formed a band in their spare bedroom, began playing a few local gigs and even pressed a single in the hopes of getting signed.
But this was the era of Motown and emerging disco. Record companies found Death’s music— and band name—too intimidating, and the group were never given a fair shot, disbanding before they even completed one album. Equal parts electrifying rockumentary and epic family love story, A Band Called Death chronicles the incredible fairy-tale journey of what happened almost three decades later, when a dusty 1974 demo tape made its way out of the attic and found an audience several generations younger.
Playing music impossibly ahead of its time, Death is now being credited as the first black punk band (hell…the first punk band!), and are finally receiving their long overdue recognition as true rock pioneers.
Source: Drafthouse Films, SXSW